Anaerobic membrane bioreactors for municipal wastewater treatment: A literature review

Yerkanat N. Kanafin, Dinara Kanafina, Simos Malamis, Evina Katsou, Vassilis J. Inglezakis, Stavros G. Poulopoulos, Elizabeth Arkhangelsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, there is growing scientific interest in the development of more economic, efficient and environmentally friendly municipal wastewater treatment technologies. Laboratory and pilot-scale surveys have revealed that the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) is a promising alternative for municipal wastewater treatment. Anaerobic membrane bioreactor technology combines the advantages of anaerobic processes and membrane technology. Membranes retain colloidal and suspended solids and provide complete solid–liquid separation. The slow-growing anaerobic microorganisms in the bioreactor degrade the soluble organic matter, producing biogas. The low amount of produced sludge and the production of biogas makes AnMBRs favorable over conventional biological treatment technologies. However, the AnMBR is not yet fully mature and challenging issues remain. This work focuses on fundamental aspects of AnMBRs in the treatment of municipal wastewater. The important parameters for AnMBR operation, such as pH, temperature, alkalinity, volatile fatty acids, organic loading rate, hydraulic retention time and solids retention time, are discussed. Moreover, through a comprehensive literature survey of recent applications from 2009 to 2021, the current state of AnMBR technology is assessed and its limitations are highlighted. Finally, the need for further laboratory, pilot-and full-scale research is addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number967
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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